Some have argued that Elbie Fletcher was on a Hall of Fame trajectory before his career was interrupted with World War II. The slick-fielding first baseman was just hitting his stride.
In 1940 his age-24 season, Fletcher finished 4th in the NL in RBI and started a streak of four straight years in which finished in the top ten in on-base percentage. The run included three consecutive league-leading finishes from 1940-1942.
Using advanced metrics, Fletcher finished 5th in WAR in both 1940 and ’41 and 9th in 1942. The following season he made his first all star team only to have the War stop his ascent by wiping away the 1944 and ’45 seasons in their entirety.
When Fletcher returned for his age-30 season in 1946, his time in the military had taken a toll. Over the next three seasons he hit .256 before retiring in 1949.
In the collection is this 3×5 card autographed by Elbie Fletcher. Below his signature Fletcher has written, “Major League 1934-1949 1st Base”.
A 1940s version of ‘the walking man’, Eddie Yost!⚾